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Bryce, Henderson Peter 

The story of a national 











P; H. BRYCE, M,A., M.D. 





The Wards of the Nation : 

Our Allies in the Revolutionary War : 

Our Brothers-in-Arms in the Great War. 


Published by James Hope & Sons, Limited 






P. H. BRYCE, M.A., M.D. 





The Wards of the Nation : 

Our Allies in the Revolutionary War : 

Our Brothers-in-Arms in the Great War. 

Published by James Hope & Sons, Limited 



E ' 



Record of the Health Conditions of the Indians 
of Canada from 1904 to 1921 


DR. P, H. BRYCE, M. A., M. D. 
Chief Medical Officer of the Indian Department. 

I. By Order in Council dated Jan. 22nd, 1904, the writer was 
appointed Medical Inspector to the Department of the Interior 
and of Indian Affairs, and was entrusted with the health interests 
of the Indians of Canada. The Order in Council recites : 

" The undersigned has the honour to report that there is urgent 
necessity for the appointment of a medical inspector to represent the 
Department of the Interior and Department of Indian Affairs. The un- 
dersigned believes that the qualifications for the position above men- 
tioned are possessed in an eminent degree by Mr. Peter Henderson 
Bryce, M. D., at present and for a number of years past Secretary for the 
Provincial Board of Health of Ontario, and who has had large ex- 
perience in connection with the public health of the province. " 


Minister of the Interior and 
Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. 

For the first months after the writer's appointment he was 
much engaged in organizing the medical inspection of immigrants 
at the sea ports ; but he early began the systematic collection of 
health statistics of the several hundred Indian Bands scattered 
over Canada. For each year up to 1914 he wrote an annual re- 
port on the health of the Indians, published in the Departmental 
report, and on instructions from the minister made in 1907 a 
special inspection of thirty-five Indian schools in the three prairie 
provinces. This report was published separately ; but the recom- 


mendations contained in the report were never published and the 
public knows nothing of them. It contained a brief history of 
the origin of the Indian Schools, of the sanitary condition of the 
schools and statistics of the health of the pupils, during the 15 
years of their existence. Regarding the health of the pupils, the 
report states that 24 per cent, of all the pupils which had been in 
the schools were known to be dead, while of one school on the 
File Hills reserve, which gave a complete return to date, 75 per 
cent, were dead at the end of the 16 years since the school opened. 

Briefly the recommendations urged, (1) Greater school 
facilities, since only 30 per cent, of the children of school age 
Recommen- were in attendance ; (2) That boarding schools with 
schoofre? farms attached be established near the home reserves of 
port 1907. the pupils . (3) T hat the government undertake the 

complete maintenance and control of the schools, since it had 
promised by treaty to insure such ; and further it was recom- 
mended that as the Indians grow in wealth and intelligence they 
should pay at least part of the cost from their own funds ; (4) 
That the school studies be those of the curricula of the several 
Provinces in which the schools are situated, since it was assumed 
that as the bands would soon become enfranchised and become 
citizens of the Province they would enter into the common life 
and duties of a Canadian community ; (5) That in view of the 
historical and sentimental relations between the Indian schools 
and the Christian churches the report recommended that the De- 
partment provide for the management of the schools, through a 
Board of Trustees, one appointed from each church and approved 
by the minister of the Department. Such a board would have its 
secretary in the Department but would hold regular meetings, 
establish qualifications for teachers, and oversee the appointments 
as well as the control of the schools ; (6) That Continuation 
schools be arranged for on the school farms and that instruction 
methods similar to those on the File Hills farm colony be deve- 
loped ; (7) That the health interests of the pupils be guarded by 
a proper medical inspection and that the local physicians be en- 
couraged through the provision at each school of fresh air methods 
in the care and treatment of cases of tuberculosis. 

II. The annual medical reports from year to year made re- 


ference to the unsatisfactory health of the pupils, while different 
local medical officers urged greater action in view of the results of 
their experience from year to year. As the result of one such re- 
port the Minister instructed the writer in 1909 to investigate the 
health of the children in the schools of the Calgary district in a 
letter containing the following : 

"As it is necessary that these residential schools should be filled with 
a healthy class of pupils in order that the expenditure on Indian educa- 
tion may not be rendered entirely nugatory, it seems desirable that you 
should go over the same ground as Dr. Lafferty and check his inspec- 
tion. " 

aecommen- These instructions were encouraging and the writer 
gladly undertook the work of examining with Dr. J. D. 
Lafferty the 243 children of 8 schools in Alberta, with 

children. the f ollowing reS ultS : 

(a) Tuberculosis was present equally in children at every 
age ; (b) In no instance was a child awaiting admission to school 
found free from tuberculosis ; hence it was plain that infection 
was got in the home primarily ; (c) The disease showed an ex- 
cessive mortality in the pupils between five and ten years of age ; 
(d) The 10,000 children of school age demanded the same atten- 
tion as the thousand children coming up each year and entering 
the schools annually. 

Recommendations, made in this report, on much the same 
lines as those made in the report of 1907, followed the examina- 
tion of the 243 children ; but owing to the active opposition of 
Mr. D. C. Scott, and his advice to the then Deputy Minister, no 
action was taken by the Department to give effect to the recom- 
mendations made. This too was in spite of the opinion of Prof. 
George Adami, Pathologist of McGill University, in reply^to a letter 
of the Deputy Minister asking his opinion regarding the manage- 
ment and conduct of the Indian schools. Prof. Adami had with 
the writer examined the children in one of the largest schools and 
was fully informed as to the actual situation. He stated that it was 
only after the earnest solicitation of Mr. D. C. Scott that the whole 
matter of Dr. Bryce's report was prevented from becoming a mat- 
ter of critical discussion at the annual meeting of the National 
Tuberculosis Association in 1910, of which he was then president, 

and this was only due to Mr. Scott's distinct promise that the De- 
partment would take adequate action along the lines of the report. 
Prof. Adami stated in his letter to the Deputy Minister : 

"It was a revelation to me to find tuberculosis prevailing to such an 
extent amongst these children, and as many of them were only suffering 
from the early incipient form of the disease, though practically everyone 
was affected, when under care it may be arrested, I was greatly impressed 
with the responsibility of the government in dealing with these children 
.... I can assure you my only motive is a great sympathy for these 
children, who are the wards of the government and cannot protect them- 
selves from the ravages of this disease. " 

III. In reviewing his correspondence the writer finds a per- 
sonal letter, written by him to the Minister dated March 16th, 
1911, following an official letter regarding the inaction of the De- 
partment with regard to the recommendations of the report. This 
letter refers to the most positive promises of Mr. D. C. Scott that 
the Department would at once take steps to put the suggestions 
contained in the report into effect. The letter further says : 

" It is now over 9 months since these occurrences and I have not 
received a single communication with reference to carrying out the Sug- 
gestions of our report. Am I wrong in assuming that the vanity of Mr. 
D. C. Scott, growing cut of his success at manipulating the mental 
activities of Mr. Pedley, has led him to the fatal deception of supposing 
that his cleverness will be equal to that of Prospero in calming any 
storm that may blow up from a Tuberculosis Association or any where 
else, since he knows that should he fail he has through memoranda on 
file placed the responsibility on Mr. Pedley and yourself. In this parti- 
cular matter, he is counting upon the ignorance and indifference of the 
public to the fate of the Indians ; but with the awakening of the health 
conscience of the people, .we are now seeing on every hand, I feel certain 
that serious trouble will come out of departmental inertia, and I am not 
personally disposed to have any blame fall upon me. " 

It will then be understood with what pleasure the writer 
hailed the appointment of Dr. W. A. Roche as Superintendent 
General of Indian Affairs after the year's term of the Hon. R. 
Rogers, whose chief activity was the investigation of the Deputy 
Minister, which led up to his retirement. Now at last he said, 
44 A medical minister exists who would understand the situation 
as relates to the health of the Indians." So an early .opportunity 
was taken to set forth in a memorandum to Dr. Roche, dated Dec. 
9th, 1912, data and statistics relating to the several hundred scat- 

tered bands on whose health the total expenditure was but little 
more than $2 per capita, while the death rate in many of the bands 
was as high as forty per thousand. The reply acknowledging re- 
ceipt of this memorandum contained the following : 

" There is certainly something in your suggestion 

Dr. Roche is 

urged to that should meet with every consideration, and some 

time when I can find an opportunity and it is con- 
venient for you, I shall be pleased to discuss this matter with you." 
As Dr. Roche became ill and was absent for some months 
nothing further was done ; but on his return the writer in a per- 
sonal interview urged that this serious medical Indian problem be 
taken up in earnest. It was stated that medical science now 
knows just what to do and what was necessary was to put our 
knowledge into practice. Dr. Roche stated that on his return 
from the West he would certainly take the matter up. Since that 
moment however, to the present, the matter haa awaited the 
promised action. 

The writer had done no regular inspection work since Mr. D. 
C. Scott was made Deputy minister in 1913, but had in each year 
up to 1914 prepared his medical report, printed in the annual re- 
port of the Department. About this time the following letter was 
received : 

P. H. Bryce, M. D. Ottawa, 

Medical Inspector, June 17, 1914. 

Immigration Branch. 
Dear Sir, 

In reply to your letter of the first instant, asking that the files of 
the Department, containing our medical officers' reports be placed at 
your disposal, so that you may peruse them to enable you to furnish a 
report for publication, I desire to point out, that by the organization of 
this Department, under the Civil Service Act of 1908 you were not in- 
cluded therein and since that time your whole salary has been a charge 
against the Department of the Interior. It is true that since then we 
have availed ourselves of your services on a few occasipns ; but during 
the past year, so far as I am awjare, you have not been called upon to do 
any duty for the Department. I may say also that Dr. Grain of Win- 
nipeg, has lately been appointed to oversee the Western schools and 
reserves and his time is fully occupied in the work. Under these cir- 
cumstances, I do not think that you should be asked to furnish a report 
on the medical work in connection with Indians during the fiscal year. 

I must thank you cordially for the offer to again prepare a report for 
publication. Yours sincerely, 


D. 8. G. I. A. 

The transparent hypocrisy contained in this remarkable com- 
munication sent, not by the Minister Dr. W. A. Roche, but by his 
deputy, will be seen in the fact that from 1908, five annual reports 
had been prepared by the writer, while the special report on the 
eight schools of the Calgary district with the recommendations 
Mr- Scott's already referred to had been made on the instructions 


influence. of the Department in 1909. The other reason given, 
to the effect that a certain physician, since retired for 
good cause, quite inexperienced in dealing with Indian 
disease problems, had been appointed as Medical Inspector 
for the Western Provinces, showed how little the Minister 
cared for the solution of the tuberculosis problem. As a 
matter of fact the Order in Council appointing the writer 
had neither been changed nor rescinded, while the transfer 
to the Interior Department of the payment of the total salary was 
made in 1908 in order that his regular increase of pay under the 
new classification of the Civil Service Act of that year might be 

IV. As the war broke out in 1914 and immigration was 
largely suspended, an unexpected opportunity occurred through 

Dr. Roche's the greater time at his disposal for the writer's special 


apathy- knowledge and experience to be utilized in improving 

the health of the Indians ; but in no single instance, thereafter, 
were the services of the writer utilised by this medical Minister, 
who in 1917 \vas transferred to preside over the Civil Service 
Commission, and who must be held responsible for the neglect of 
what proved to be a very serious situation. In 1917, the writer 
prepared, at the request of the Conservation Commission, a pam- 
phlet on ** The Conservation of the Man Power of Canada," which 
dealt with the broad problems of health which so vitally affect the 
man power of a nation. The large demand for this pamphlet led 
to the preparation of a similar study on " The Conservation of the 
Man Power of the Indian Population of Canada, " which had 
already supplied over 2000 volunteer soldiers for the Empire. For 
obvious reasons this memorandum was not published, but was 


value of placed in the hands of a minister of the Crown in 1918, 
oTindians r in order that all the facts might be made known to the 
Government. This memorandum began by pointing out that in 
1916 4,862,303 acres were included in the Indian reserves and that 
73,716 acres were then under cultivation ; that while the total per 
capita income for farm crops in that year in all Canada was $110 
that from the Indian reserves was $69, while it was only $40 for 
Nova Scotia. It is thus obvious that from the lowest standard of 
wealth producers the Indian population of Canada was already a 
matter of much importance to the State. From the statistics given 
in the " Man Power " pamphlet it was made plain that instead of 
the normal increase in the Indian population being 1.5 per cent, 
per annum as given for the white population, there had been be- 
tween 1904 and 1917 an actual decrease in the Indian population 
in the age period over twenty years of 1,639 persons whereas a 
normal increase would have added 20,000 population in the 13 
years. The comparisons showed that the loss was almost wholly 
due to a high death rate since, though incomplete, the Indian birth 
rate was 27 per thousand or higher than the average for the whole 
white population. 

The memorandum states, " As the Indian people are an un- 
usually strong native race, their children at birth are large and 
sturdy, and under good sanitary conditions have a low mortality. 
Thus of the 134 children born in the File Hills Farm Colony in 17 
years only 34 died, while of 15 births in 1916 only 1 died, giving 
the unusually low rate of 77 per thousand within the year. " 

As it was further desirable to obtain the latest returns of 
deaths by age periods and causes the writer communicated with 
the Secretary of the Indian Department asking for such returns. 
In reply he received the following letter. 
Dear Dr. Bryce, Ottawa, May 7, 1918. 

I have your letter of the third instant asking for certain vital statis- 
tics. I am unable to give you the figures you ask as we are not receiving 
any vital statistics now, and last year we obtained only the total num- 
ber of births and deaths from each Agency. These were not printed and 
are not therefore available for distribution. The causes of deaths have 
never been noted in our reports and we have no information. 
Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) J. D. McLean, 

Asst. Deputy and Secretary. 


Thus after more than a hundred years of an organized De- 
partment of Indian Affairs in Canada, though the writer had at 
Entire once begun in 1904 on his appointment the regular 

causes of^ collection of statistics of diseases and deaths from the 
several Indian bands, he was officially informed that in 
a Department with 287 paid medical officers, due to the direct re- 
actionary influence of the former Accountant and present Deputy 
Minister no means exists, such as is looked upon as elementary 
in any Health Department today, by which the public or the In- 
dians themselves can learn anything definite as to the actual vital 
conditions amongst these wards of the nation. 

A study of the 1916-17 statistics shows that in the wage earn?v 
ing period of life, from 21 to 65 years, the Indians of Alberta had } 
161 less population, of British Columbia 901 less, of Ontario 99 y 
less and of Nova Scotia 39$ less. In order however to show how 
an Indian population may increase, the writer obtained from 
Mr. W. M. Graham, at that time Superintendent of the File Hills 
colony from 1901 to 1917, the complete record for this period. In 
all there were 53 colonists from the neighbouring Indian schools, 
starting with five in 1901, who had taken up homesteads in the 
colony. Most of them married although 15 either left or had died 
previous to marriage. In June 1917 there were resident 38 men, 
26 women and 106 children, or 170 colonists in all. Thus we have 
the picture of a young Indian population of 49 males' who re- 
mained in the colony, of whom 10 died of tuberculosis after an 
average sickness there of 2.7 years and of 29 females of whom 3 
The famous died and to whom had been born in all 134 chiidren. 
Fari? ills -In 1916 the colony had 3,991 acres under cultivation 
or over a hundred acres per farmer. This was one 
nineteenth of the total area cultivated by 105,000 persons in all 
the Indian bands in Canada, Awhile 87,498 bushels of grain were 
grown, and 33,052 head of live stock were kept. That this varia- 
tion from the normal is viewed as an anomaly may be judged 
from the following extract from the Deputy Minister's Annual Re- 
port for 1917 ; " The Indian population does not vary much from 
year to year. " How misleading this statement is may be judged 
from the fact that between 1906 and 1917 in the age periods over 
20 years in every Province but two the Indians had decreased 
in population by a total of 2,632 deaths. 


Naturally it is asked ; Why this decrease should have taken 
place ? In 1906 the report of t,he Chief Medical Officer shows 
that statistics collected from 99 local medical officers having the 
care of a population of 70,000 gave a. total of 3,169 cases of tuber- 
Extraordin- culosis or 1 case for every seven in a total of 23,109 
itySom tu- diseases reported, and the death rates in several large 
bands were 81.8, 82.6, and in a third 86.4 per thousand; 
while the ordinary death rate for 115,000 in the city of Hamilton 
was 10.6 in 1921. What these figures disclose has been made 
more plain year by year, namely that tuberculosis, contracted in 
infancy, creates diseases of the brain, joints, bones, and to a less 
degree of the lungs and also that if not fatal till adolescence it 
then usually progresses rapidly to a fatal termination in consump- 
tion of the lungs. 

The amazing The memorandum prepared by the writer in 1918 
tuberculosis further showed that the city of Hamilton with apopu- 
on< lation greater ^than the total Indian population had 
reduced the death rate from tuberculosis in the same period, from 
1904 to 1917, by nearly 75 per cent, having in 1916 actually only 
68 deaths. The memorandum further states, " If a similar me- 
thod had been introduced amongst the bands on the health-giving 
uplands of Alberta, much might have been done to prevent such 
a splendid race of warriors as the Blackfeet from decreasing from 
842 in 1904 to 726 in 191,6, or, allowing for natural increase, an 
actual loss of 40 per cent, since they should have numbered at least 

V. Such then is the situation made known to the Hon. N. W. 
Rowell, who applied to the writer in 1918 to supply him with 
such facts and arguments as would support the Bill he proposed 
to introduce into Parliament fpr the creation of a Federal Depart- 
ment of Health. 

It was with pleasure that the memorandum dealing with 
Indian health matters was given him, along with a proposed Bill 
for a Department of Health, which contained amongst its pro- 
visions one for including the Indian Medical Service along with 
the other Medical Federal services in the new Department. In 
the special medical committee called by Mr. Rowell to discuss the 



Bill, such inclusion was of course approved of and the clause ap- 
peared ill the First Reading in Parliament. But something then 
occult influ- happened : What special occult influences came into 
rob the in- action may be imagined, when the Second Reading of 

dians of a 

chance. the Bill took place with this clause regarding the In- 
dian Medical Service omitted. It has been noted that from 1913 
up to the time when Dr. W. A. Roche was eliminated from the 
government in 1917 to make room for a more hardy and subtle 
representative of Unionism the activities of the Chief Medical In- 
spector of the Indian Department, had in practice ceased ; yet 
now he was to see as the outcome of all this health legislation for 
which he had been struggling for years, the failure of one of 
his special health dreams, which he has hoped to see realized. 

If the writer had been much disturbed by the incapacity or 
inertia of a medical Minister in the matter of the Indian health 
one who situation, he now saw that it was hopeless to expect 
fntheir hem an Y improvement in it when the new Minister of 
apony- Health, who had posed as the Bayard of Social Up- 

lift, the Protagonist of Prohibition, the Champion of Oppressed 
Labour, the Sir Galahad of Women's rights, and the preux 
Qhevalier of Canadian Nationalism, could with all the accumula- 
ted facts and statistics before him condemn to further indefinite 
suffering and neglect these Wards of the Canadian people, whom 
one Government after another had made treaties with and whom 
deputies and officials had sworn to assist and protect. 

A side light however, may serve to illumine the beclouded 
situation. With the formation of the Unionist Government the 
usual shuffle of portfolios was made and the then dominating 
Solicitor General, grown callous and hardened over a franchise 
Bill, which disfranchised*many thousands of his fellow native- 
born citizens, had now become Minister of the Interior. That the 
desire for power and for the control appointments should override 
any higher consideration such as saving the lives of the Indians 
must be inferred from the following statement of the Hon. A, 
Meighen, Minister of the Interior and now Prime Minister. On 
June 8th, 1920, the estimates of the Indian Department were un- 
der consideration in Parliament. Page 3275 of Hansard has the 
following : 


Mr. D. D. McKenzie, " I understand that frightful ravages are being 
made amongst them (Indians) by tuberculosis and the conditions of life 
are certainly not such as to preserve them from the ravages of that 
dread disease. I should be pleased to know at the earliest possible 
moment if that branch of the Department was going to be transferred to 
the Department of Health. " 

Mr. Meighen, " The Health Department has no power to take over 
the matter of the health of the Indians. That is not included in the 
Act establishing the department. It was purposely left out of the Act. 
I did not then think and do not think yet that it would be practicable 
for the Health Department to do that work, because they would require 
to duplicate the organization away in the remote regions, where Indian 
reserves are, and there would be established a sort of divided control and 
authority over the Indians. " 

Mr. Beland, " Is tuberculosis increasing or decreasing amongst the 
Indians? " 

Mr. Meighen, " I am afraid I cannot give a very encouraging an- 
swer to the question. We are not convinced that it is increasing, but it 
is not decreasing. 

In this reply of the Minister we see fully illustrated the dom- 
inating influence, stimulated by the reactionary Deputy Minister, 
which prevents even the simplest effective efforts to deal with the 
Red tape health problem of the Indians along modern scientific 
the Indians lines. To say that confusion would arise is the equi- 
a e piriabie f valent of s'aying that co-operation between persons to- 
ward a desired social end is impracticable ; whereas 
co-operation between Provincial and Federal Health Depart- 
ments is the basis upon which real progress is being made, 
while further a world peace is being made possible in a 
league of once discordant nations. The Premier has frankly 
said he can give no encouraging answer to Dr, Beland's 
question, while at the same moment he condemns the Indians to 
their fate by a pitiable confession of utter official helplessness and 
lack of initiative, based upon a cynical " non possumus. " 

Thus we find a sum of only $10.000 has been annually placed 
in the estimates to control tuberculosis amongst 105,000 Indians 
scattered over Canada in over 300 bands, while the City of Ottawa, 
with about the same population and having three general hospitals 
spent thereon $342,860.54 in 1919 of which $33,364.70 is devoted 
to tuberculous patients alone. The many difficulties of our pro- 


blem amongst the Indians have been frequently pointed out, but 
the means to cope with these have also been made plain. It can 
only be said that any cruder or weaker arguments by a Prime 
Minister holding the position of responsibility to these treaty 
wards of Canada could hardly be conceived, and such recall the 
satirical jibe of Voltaire, regarding the Treaty of Shackmaxoii be- 
tween Wm. Penn and the Indians, which he describes as " the 
only known treaty between savages and Christians that was never 
sworn to and never broken. " 

The degree and extent of this criminal disregard for the treaty 
pledges to guard the welfare of the Indian wards of the nation 
may be guaged from the facts once more brought out at the meet- 
ing of the National Tuberculosis Association at its annual meeting 
held in Ottawa on March 17th, 1922. The superintendent of the 
Qu'Appelle Sanatorium, Sask., gave there the results of a special 
study of 1575 children of school age in which advantage was taken 
of the most modern scientific methods. Of these 175 were Indian 
children, and it is very remarkable that the fact given that some 
93 per cent, of these showed evidence of tuberculous infection 
coincides completely with the work done by Dr. Lafferty and the 
writer in the Alberta Indian schools in 1909. 

It is indeed pitiable that during the thirteen years since then 
this trail of disease and death has gone on almost unchecked by any 
serious efforts on the part of the Department of Indian Affairs, 
placed by the B. N. A. Act especially in charge of our Indian 
population, and that a Provincial Tuberculosis Commission now 
considers it to be its duty to publish the facts regarding these 
children living within its own Province. 



This story should have been written years ago and then given 
to the public ; but in my oath of office as a ivil Servant swore that 
" without authority on that behalf, I shall not disclose or make 
known any matter or thing which comes to my knowledge by 
reason of my employment as Chief Medical Inspector of Indian 
Affairs. " Today I am free to speak, having been retired from the 
Civil Service and so am in a position to write the sequel to the 
story. It has already been stated that in 1918 and 1919 I had 
supplied to my then Minister of Immigration, the Hon. J. A. Cal- 
der and to the then President of the Council, the Hon. N. W. 
Rowell various memoranda regarding the establishment of a 
Federal Department of Health, amongst these being a draft of the 
Bill which later became the Act establishing the Department of 
Health. To my disappointment the position of Deputy Minister 
of Health to which I had a right to aspire after twenty -two years 
as Chief Medical Officer of Onatrio, and fifteen years as Chief 
Medical Officer of Immigration and Indian Affairs was given to 
another, wholly outside the Federal Civil Service and in violation 
of the principle of promotion, which was supposed to prevail when 
the patronage system was to be done away with. The excuse was 
on the ground of my advancing years, although at that moment 
the position of Auditor General was being filled by the promotion 
of one who had reached sixty-five years, while a Historian to the 
Militia Department was appointed at a salary of $7.000 per year, 
who likewise had reached just then this age. 

Naturally I felt that it would be impossible to carry on and 
retain my self respect as a subordinate, while performing the 
duties, which I had been engaged in for fifteen years as Chief 
Medical Officer and so asked that I be given other congenial work. 
That my claims to the position were deemed reasonable may be 
judged from the following letter addressed to my brother the Rev. 
Professor Bryce, D.D., of Winnipeg. Writing from Victoria, B. 
C., on March 9th, 1920, to myself he said, quoting from a letter 
received from the Hon. Mr. Calder in reply to one of his own : 


*' I quite appreciate the views of your brother in reference to his 
situation here, and personally would be only too glad to do anything I 
can to help out. When the Public Health Department was created, your 
brother certainly had claims to the appointment as Deputy Minister. 
Owing to his advanced age however, Council finally concluded that a 
younger man should receive the appointment. The government has on 
several occasions considered the question of placing your brother in 
some other branch of the Service, and I have no doubt that this will be 
arranged in some way or other shortly. He is now an official of the 
Public Health Department. He could of course remain there but this 
apparently is not agreeable to him. As a consequence some other 
arrangement, if possible must be made. 

Signed, J. A. Calder. 

My indignation at subsequent treatment may be imagined 
when the same Mr. Calder introduced the Apt in 1920, commonly 
known as the Calder Act, providing for the " Retirement of Cer- 
tain Members of the Civil Service. " This Act states that anyone 
retired thereunder shall receive 1/60 of his salary for each year of 
service. So it came about that on the 17th Sept. 1920, I received 
notice that I was recommended for retirement under this Act. 
The clause of the Act quoted for my information states : 

" Section 2 (3). When it is decided to retire anyone under the pro- 
visions of this Act, notice in writing giving the reasons for such retire- 
ment shall be sent to such person, and he shall have the right to appeal 
to the Civil Service Commission, and the Commission, after giving such 
person an opportunity to be heard, shall make full report to the Gover- 
nor in Council and the decision of the Council thereon shall be final. " 

I appealed and in my appeal stated that no reason was as- 
signed as provided in the Act, and further that I was still Chief 
Medical Officer in the Department of Indian Affairs as set out in 
the Order in Council of 1904. 

As bearing on this point made in my appeal I find the fol- 
lowing in Hansard of June 8th, 1921. The matter being dealt 
with is the amendment to the Calder Act : 

Mr. Fielding : But cases have been brought to my attention of men 
in advanced years some may think them old, I do not being notified 
of their retirement, although they are blessed with good health and 
strength, both mental and physical, and are well able to discharge their 
duties. How is such a man dealt with ? 

Mr. Calder : No man will be notified unless a proper official has 
advised that his condition of life is such that in the public interest he 
should be retired 


Mr. Calder : That in the main has been the practice in the past and 
that is what the law contemplated last year. The question of age alone 
was not taken into consideration. 

But it was hardly to be supposed that Dr. W. A. Roche, now 
Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, who during the years 
1913-17 referred to had failed to utilise my services when he was 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs would now consider my services 
as necessary in that Department. So my protest was of no avail ; 
my elimination from the Service had been decreed and I received 
the following Order in Council : 

Ottawa, 14th Feb., 1721. 

The Committee have had before them a report, dated Feb. 1st, 1921, 
from the acting Secretary of State, from the Civil Service Commission : 

In accordance with the provisions of Cap. 67, 10-11 George V. " An 
Act to provide for the Retirement of Certain Members of the Public 
Service " the Civil Service has to report that Dr. P. H. Bryce of the De- 
partment of Health at Ottawa was recommended by the Deputy Minis- 
ter of Health for retirement ; that under Section 2 (3) of the said Act 
he was given a personal hearing, which has resulted in the Civil Service 
Commission now recommending that his appeal be not allowed, but 
that his retirement be made effective from the 1st of March, 1921. Dr. 
Bryce was born on August 17th> 1853, and is consequently sixty-seven 
years of age. He was appointed temporarily to the Service on Feb. 1st, 
1904, and was made permanent on September 1st, 1908, and therefore 
will have been in the Service seventeen years and one month on the 1st 
March, 1921, the date upon which his retirement is proposed to be effec- 

So it came about that I was retired In March. 1921, with- 
out any years being added to my term of Federal service, though 
I had been brought to Ottawa as an expert after 22 years in the 
Ontario Health Service, as is provided for in the Superannuation 
Act of 1870. Neither did I get any gratuity on leaving the On- 
tario Service after twenty-two years, the excuse being then given 
that I was improving my position. 

The irony and injustice of this Order in Council will be seen 
when it is stated that a similar Order wrfs passed on May 18th, 
1921, retiring 231 persons from the Customs Department as being 
over sixty-five years of age ; but which was' recalled when the 
protests of the many friends of men who were faithfully perform- 
ing their duties were made. These and hundreds of other Civil 


Servants of similar age are in different Departments still perform- 
ing their duties. 

In view, therefore, of all the facts herein recited I make my 
appeal for simple justice ; that I be permitted to carry on my 
work as Chief Medical Officer of Indian Affairs, and I believe that 
I have' the right to demand, after a thorough investigation into all 
the facts of the case, that the chief obstacle, as set forth in the 
story, to insuring the health and prosperity of the one hundred 
thousand Indians, the Wards of the nation, be removed. 

Since the time of Edward I. the people have ever exercised 
their historic right to lay their petitions before the King and Par- 
liament. I now desire herein respectfully to bring my appeal for 
the Indians of Canada before the King's representative and the 
Parliament of Canada, feeling sure that justice will be done both 
to them and to myself. 













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